by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

House stared at the menu options with the sort of horrified disbelief he thought he'd left behind years ago. Being a misanthrope was supposed to protect him from this sort of thing. He was supposed to expect humanity to screw him over. But this...this was going above and beyond the call of duty. He reviewed the choices again, as if they might have changed in the last minute.

Pineapple fried rice. Ham with pineapple sauce. Turkey with a pineapple glaze. Pineapple pie. Cabbage and pineapple salad. Pineapple muffins. Tuna with pineapple.

The only items on the menu that didn't include pineapple were the pre-fabricated sandwiches. House grabbed a shrinkwrapped chicken salad sandwich and a coke and tried not to think about the wet, limp lettuce that peeked out from the edges of the supposed foodstuff.

Even as House settled himself into a chair, Wilson appeared as if by magic and seated himself across the table. He set a brown paper bag on the table and began extracting tupperware containers from it. House stared. "I didn't know you even owned tupperware," he said, leaving off picking at the plastic wrap restraining his sandwich for the moment.

Wilson shot him a look. "Of course I own tupperware," he said, as if this should have been self-evident. "It's not like I'm usually home in time for dinner. Julie puts it in the fridge for me."

"And yet you've never before favored your colleagues with samples from your tupperware collection," House eyed the multiplicity of plastic containers.

"Maybe I just keep them away from you," Wilson suggested, smiling slightly.

"So why now?" House asked, turning his attention back to freeing his sandwich. "What did I do to deserve this?"

Wilson cracked open a can of coke--the only non-tupperware container in the lot--and leaned back in his seat, sighing. "I think Julie and I have entered the 'if we're extra considerate of each other, everything will work out' phase," he confessed, lifting the coke to take a long drink.

Independent of the plastic wrapping, House's sandwich sat there looking exactly the same as it had before he removed the cellophane. It didn't even have the decency to fall apart. House eyed it warily as he spoke. "You realize that recognizing it as a phase is a strong sign that your marriage is end stage."


"And you can stop insisting that you really do love your wife now," House said, abandoning the sandwich for the moment in favor of leaning sagely back into his own seat.

"Ending a relationship doesn't mean that you're not in love anymore," Wilson argued. "Just that the relationship didn't work out."

"And the relationship didn't work out because...?" House prompted.

Wilson shrugged and pried open one of the tupperware containers. Pasta salad. "Some people's lives aren't compatible no matter how strongly they feel about each other."

"Well, your average is improving," House commented. "It only took you two years to figure it out this time." He prodded the chicken salad sandwich.

"You can't be thinking about eating that," Wilson said, regarding the sandwich with suspicion.

House bend a dark glare on the offending item. "It was this or...pineapple."

Wilson pushed his pasta salad across the table. "Try that. And you make it sound inevitable."

"Pineapple?" House affected confusion. "Not inevitable. Ubiquitous, maybe."

Wilson rolled his eyes. "Not pineapple. The end of my marriage to Julie. You make it sound like it was inevitable." The next tupperware container revealed two pieces of roast chicken. Had Julie really cooked, House wondered, or just stopped by the deli counter? It's not like Wilson would know the difference.

"It was inevitable." House snagged the fork Julie had so thoughtfully included in Wilson's brown bag and menaced the pasta salad with it. Pausing just before striking, he cast a glance in Wilson's direction. "This isn't laced with anything, is it?"

"Julie thought I would be eating it," Wilson said dryly, "so unless she was planning to collect on my will, no. She saves the cyanide for dinner parties." House snorted and dug into the pasta salad. "So why was it inevitable?"

"Because no woman would be comfortable with the degree of emotion you invest in other people." House chewed and swallowed another mouthful of pasta, pausing to poke the fork in Wilson's direction. "She thinks she can handle it at first. She thinks she likes that you have such a 'generous spirit'. But eventually the doubt worms its way in, and pretty soon she can't convince herself that it's just professional concern, really, and she starts wondering who it is that's keeping you out late, and if she's really the most important person in your life, and it's all downhill from there."

Wilson blinked at him. "I can't stop caring about people," he said helplessly.

"Which is why it was inevitable."

"Well." Wilson paused and lifted a chicken leg. "Here's hoping she isn't thinking that way."

House cast him a suspicious look, forkful of pasta hovering in the air. "Why?"

Wilson shrugged. "If she knew the end was approaching, she might really have gone for the cyanide."